Basic Instinct (1992)

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Released 7-Jun-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1992
Running Time 122:59
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:31) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Paul Verhoeven

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Michael Douglas
Sharon Stone
George Dzundza
Jeanne Tripplehorn
Denis Arndt
Leilani Sarelle
Bruce A. Young
Chelcie Ross
Dorothy Malone
Wayne Knight
Daniel von Bargen
Stephen Tobolowsky
Benjamin Mouton
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Danish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    After an incredibly long wait, one of the all-time best (and most controversial) erotic thrillers, Basic Instinct, has finally arrived (albeit as a bare-bones DVD) in R4. Yes, it's formula-written, Hitchcockian soft-core porn that is completely excessive and grotesquely violent. Yes, it's completely voyeuristic, sensational, and peppered with gratuitous nudity and sex-scenes; And yes, it exploits the bodies of some of the hottest women ever to appear on the big-screen, but that's what made it one of the most disturbingly enjoyable, talked-about, and memorable films of the 1990s. It also was one of the top-grossing movies of 1992, raking in over $US120 million in the US alone. Quite simply, Basic Instinct is a movie phenomenon that cannot be ignored, or easily explained away.

   "A brutal murder, a brilliant killer, a cop who can't resist the danger."

    Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is a burnt-out San Francisco cop living on the edge. In some ways, this is the character that Douglas' Streets of San Francisco Cop could have evolved into. Curran is part of a team of detectives investigating the gruesome ice-pick murder of a sleazy club owner. The investigation leads Curran to the victim's seductive girlfriend, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone). It turns out that Tramell writes thriller novels whose plots seem to mirror recent events. Indeed, her latest book describes a murder committed in a very similar way. From there, a web of characters and suspects emerge in true Hitchcockian style. While there are plot twists and turns, anyone familiar with the scriptwriter, Joe Eszterhas' work, (Jagged Edge, Basic Instinct, Sliver), would know his well-worn formula: First you think they're guilty, then you have doubts, and then at the end, the 'twist'.

    One last important point is that this movie is extremely well made: The production values and art direction are terrific. The lighting, camera work (Jan de Bont), and editing are superb, and the direction by Paul Verhoeven (RoboCop, Total Recall) is spot on, unlike his over-blown Showgirls or Starship Troopers. The acting by all the leads is great, and of course after appearing in over 25 films, this was to be the break-through role for 34-year-old Sharon Stone, making her a movie star and a household name.

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Transfer Quality


    Overall, the transfer is very good.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is quite sharp and well defined throughout. The shadow detail is also great, for example consider the car interior at 30:03. The colour is good, but at times some of the skin tones looked a little too brown (but perhaps this was the make-up).

    There are no problem with MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts appear as some slight aliasing, such as the slight shimmer on the stack of CDs at 20:51. Tiny film artefacts appear throughout. Most are very small, but a few are noticeable. At times there appears to be some slight edge enhancement.

    Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish subtitles are present. This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 56:31, which is in between scenes.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There is only one audio option on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent.

    The musical score is credited to the very talented Jerry Goldsmith (Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E, The Waltons, The Omen, Alien, First Blood, Rambo, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Mummy), and it contributes enormously to the Hitchcockian tension, emotion, and drama of the film.

    While being a little subtle, there is a very effective and enveloping surround sound mix here. The rears feature the great score, and plenty of ambience when appropriate, such as the scene in the rain at 29:23, or in the rowdy bar at 77:33. This is not an LFE-heavy soundtrack, so the subwoofer never really drew my attention.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Very surprisingly for a movie of this impact and standing, there are absolutely no extras


    Animated with Dolby Digital stereo surround audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Basic Instinct was released on DVD in Region 1 as a bare-bones, non-16x9 enhanced standard edition (in the wrong aspect ratio) in 1997, and later, as a Special Edition (R-Rated and Unrated) in 2001.

    Compared with the R1 unrated Special Edition, the Region 4 DVD misses out on:

The Region 1 unrated Special Edition DVD misses out on:

    I would favour the R1 unrated Special Edition. However, the Doctor informs me that "The best version is the R2. It dedicates 1 disc to the movie and the quality is dramatically better than the R1. I had both and compared them side by side. For the hardcore the German 3 disc version is the same as the UK R2 but also includes a 3 disc (CD) audio soundtrack."


   Accused of 'gay-bashing' for its negative image of lesbianism, some women's groups also called the film misogynistic. While it does have its faults, and yes there are a few plot holes, on the whole Basic Instinct is a must-see, very enjoyable piece of B-Grade sensationalism that one can't take too seriously.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good.

    There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Sunday, May 23, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
Bo**ocks to this edition, get the UK R2 edition....DTS + all the R1 extras... - Malcom Tent, UK
typical - Anonymous
Another missing extra from the R1 Version - Gavin Bollard
UK standard or 'unrated' cut? - spacemonkey REPLY POSTED
Yep, the R2 edition is uncut... - Malcolm Tent, UK
According to other sources, the R4 features are still not confirmed - Eddie
R4 is uncut. - Anonymous